Background Check Policy

The purpose of this policy is to describe the terms and conditions under which background checks are conducted.

Policy: Ursinus College conducts background checks, at the College’s expense, for all newly hired faculty and staff members.  All full-time and part-time appointments are contingent upon satisfactory completion of a criminal records check immediately upon hire. 

Ursinus College will use a third party administrator to conduct all background checks.  The type of information collected by this agency includes, but not limited to, a criminal background check, education, employment history, credit and reference checks; motor vehicle report and sex offender registry check.  This process is used to verify the accuracy of information provided by the employee and determine suitability for employment. 

Ursinus College will obtain information from the third party administrator in compliance with applicable federal and state statutes, such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Consumer Credit Reform Act of 1996.

Ursinus College’s Policy Statement regarding the hiring of children under the age of 18 with regard to the New Pennsylvania State Background Screening Mandate (PA Act 153 and House Bill 1276)  Based on new PA State mandates, Ursinus College’s best practice will be to refrain from hiring children under the age of 18.  Certain exceptions may apply but only if all personnel in the department or division that the child is hired into have completed all necessary background screening requirements (including PA Criminal Background Check, Child Abuse History Clearance and Federal Criminal Background Checks).

General Guidelines:  All background checks will be conducted once a candidate has been given a contingent offer by the College.  At the time of the contingent offer (written or verbal), a consent form and an application of employment will be sent to the prospective employee for completion.  Once this is returned to the Human Resources Office, a background check will be performed.  Background checks should be completed and the results verified before any employee begins work.

All background checks are reported to the Human Resources Office and are kept in confidential files that are separate from employee’s personnel files.  Reports are shared only on a strict need-to-know basis.  If a report includes information about a relevant felony or misdemeanor conviction, this information may be shared, as necessary, with the immediate supervisor of the position, and/or Vice President of the department. 

The College will use the background check report in considering the appropriateness of continued employment as it relates to the position in which he/she has been hired.  Convictions that are relevant to the position for which an employee has been hired shall be cause for immediate discharge.  In determining the relevance, the College will consider: the degree of the conviction and whether it is directly related to the position for which the employee was hired; amount or pattern of convictions; length of time since conviction; age of employee at time of conviction; and credible references provided by past employers since the conviction. 

Adverse Action Notifications:  If a background check reveals convictions which the individual disclosed in the application, the Human Resources Office will review the report with the hiring department to be evaluated before the offer is confirmed or withdrawn. 

If undisclosed convictions are revealed, the offer of employment will be withdrawn, and if employed, the individual will be separated from employment, unless the individual shows that the report is in error.  The employee will be given a reasonable opportunity to submit information to the Human Resources Office disputing the accuracy or completeness of the report before a final decision is made regarding continued employment.  

If an individual did not disclose a conviction on the employment application and is found to be convicted of a criminal office, employment will be terminated immediately, due to falsification of employment record. 

When a final determination of adverse action is made, the College will advise the employee, in writing, of the adverse action and provide the name, address, and telephone number of the Consumer Reporting Agency.  The College will also provide a copy of the report from the Consumer Reporting Agency to the employee and he/she will be notified of his/her right to dispute its contents with the Consumer Reporting Agency.

Act 153 – PA Background Screening Requirements and Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting:

In addition to the standard background check clearance that all new Ursinus College employees must complete, faculty and staff who have direct contact with a minor must receive PA Act 153 clearance.

PA Act 153 was enacted on December 31, 2014 when The Pennsylvania state legislature sought to strengthen protections for children in the PA Child Protective Services Law (CPSL). It requires all college faculty and staff to obtain background clearances for any individuals having direct contact with a minor which involves the care, supervision, guidance or control of a minor OR routine interaction with a minor which is defined as “regular and repeated contact that is integral to a person’s employment responsibilities”.

There are three (3) background checks that must be performed in order to receive a PA Act 153 Clearance: 

  1. Pennsylvania Criminal History Records Check (PATCH) - is a check of criminal history information obtained from the Pennsylvania State Police that is maintained in the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository.
  2. Pennsylvania State Child Abuse Clearance Check - is a check that includes a certification from the Department of Human Services as to whether the applicant is named in the statewide database as an alleged perpetrator in a pending, indicated or founded child abuse investigation in Pennsylvania.
  3. Federal Criminal History Records/FBI Check - is a check of federal criminal history information obtained by the submission of a full set of fingerprints to the Pennsylvania State Police or its authorized agent.

 PA Act 153 clearances must be renewed every 60 months.